Cool Emblems on Flags and How States Got Their Names


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Also, scroll down to view a list of the meanings of names of all 50 states, and where (some people think) these names may have originated. In many cases, an educated guess is all we have. 




ALABAMA may come from Choctaw meaning “thicket-clearers” or “vegetation-gatherers”

ALASKA is supposedly a corruption of an Aleut word meaning “great land” or “that which the sea breaks against.”

ARIZONA could be from the O'odham Indian word for “little spring.”

ARKANSAS was named by the Quapaw Indians (its meaning remains unclear)

CALIFORNIA's name comes from Las Sergas de Esplandián (by Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo, c. 1500), a book which describes an earthly paradise.

COLORADO is derived from a Spanish form of the word “ruddy” or “red,” because of the red sandstone soil of the Pike's Peak region.

CONNECTICUT is derived from an Indian word (Quinnehtukqut) meaning “beside the long tidal river” (referring to what is now known as the Conneticut River).

DELAWARE is named after Delaware River and Bay, which was named in turn for Sir Thomas West, Lord De La Warr (governor of the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia in 1610).

FLORIDA comes from the Spanish "Pascua Florida," meaning “feast of flowers” (Easter)


GEORGIA was named in honor of George II of England

HAWAII may have been named after Hawaii or Hawaiki, the traditional home of the Polynesians.

IDAHO is an invented word whose meaning is unknown.

ILLINOIS is Algonquin for “tribe of superior men”

INDIANA means “land of Indians”

IOWA is probably derived from an Indian word meaning “the Beautiful Land”

KANSAS got its name from a Sioux word meaning “people of the south wind.”

KENTUCKY is named from the Iroquoi word “Ken-tah-ten” meaning “land of tomorrow.”

LOUISIANA was named in honor of Louis XIV of France.

MAINE referred to the mainland, as opposed to the offshore islands.

MARYLAND was named in honor of Henrietta Maria, who was the queen of Charles I of England.

MASSACHUSETTS took its name from a word of the Algonquin tribe. Roughly translated, it means “at the great hill.”

MICHIGAN comes from the Native American word “Michigana” meaning “great lake.”

MINNESOTA is from a Dakota word meaning “sky-tinted water”

MISSISSIPPI is derived from a Native American word meaning “Father of Waters”

MISSOURI was named after the Missouri tribe. Missouri means “town of the large canoes.”

MONTANA was named for the Spanish word meaning “mountain.”

NEBRASKA is a word from the Oto tribe, meaning “flat water.”

NEVADA is Spanish for "snowcapped."


NEW HAMPSHIRE was named after Hampshire, a county in England

NEW JERSEY was named after the English Channel Isle of Jersey

NEW MEXICO took its name from Mexico, its southern neighbor.

NEW YORK was named after York, England, which was named in honor if the Duke of York

NORTH CAROLINA was named in honor of Charles I of England.

NORTH DAKOTA comes from a Sioux word, meaning “allies.”

OHIO is derived from an Iroquoi word meaning “great river.”

OKLAHOMA is a word that comes from two Choctaw words meaning “red people.”

OREGON is a name whose origin is unknown, but probably comes from a Native American language.

PENNSYLVANIA was named in honor of Adm. Sir William Penn, father of William Penn. It means “Penn's Woodland.”

RHODE ISLAND is named after the Greek Island of Rhodes.

SOUTH CAROLINA was named in honor of Charles I of England

SOUTH DAKOTA (see North Dakota)

TENNESSEE is of Cherokee origin. Its meaning is unknown

TEXAS is named from the Caddo word "teyshas," meaning “friends.”

UTAH is named from the Apache word, "yuttahih." It means "those who are higher up," or similarly, “people of the mountains.”

VERMONT comes from the French words “verd" and "mont,” meaning “green mountain.” It was named by French explorer Samuel de Champlain.

VIRGINIA was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth, a.k.a. “Virgin Queen” of England

WASHINGTON was named after George Washington

WEST VIRGINIA (see Virginia)

WISCONSIN is supposedly a French mispronunciation of a Native American word whose meaning is unclear.

WYOMING is from a word of the Delaware tribe, meaning “mountains and valleys"

 

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